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17 killed as bus rolls into gorge in Kishtwar

Srinagar, Sep 14:At least 17 passengers were killed and 16 others injured when a mini bus skidded off the road and plunged into a gorge in Kishtwar district on Friday, officials said.

The accident occurred at Dandaran, near Thakrai, when the driver of the mini bus, which was on its way to Kishtwar from the Keshwan area, lost control of it and the vehicle plunged into the 300-foot gorge, near the Chenab riverbed, on Friday morning, they said.

 

“A total of 17 persons died and 16 others injured in the unfortunate incident,” District Development Commissioner (Kishtwar) Angrez Singh Rana said.

He said the dead included three women and the driver of the ill-fated vehicle, Ashraf Hussain.

Interestingly, Hussain was fined by the traffic police for overloading on Thursday, officials said.

Rana said most of the victims died on the spot. One of the 11 critically injured persons, airlifted to Jammu for specialised treatment, was declared brought dead by doctors at the Government Medical College Hospital, Jammu.

The District Development Commissioner, who led the operation along with Senior Superintendent of Police Rajinder Gupta, said, “The next of the kin of the deceased will be given an ex gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh each, while Rs 50,000 will be given to each of the injured persons.”

He lauded the Army, police and locals for their swift action in initiating the rescue operation.

Officials said the bus was carrying over 30 passengers.

They said five of the injured were undergoing treatment at a local hospital and their condition was stated to be “stable”.

Advisor to Governor, B B Vyas said that free treatment was being provided to the injured, who were airlifted to Government Medical College Jammu from Kishtwar even as he expressed deep shock on behalf of the governor over the tragic mishap which occurred in the mountainous Kishtwar district early on Friday.

“I visited hospital myself and enquired the condition of all the injured in GMC and I reviewed the treatment arrangements,” Vyas said.

“I also directed the administration to keep volunteers attached with everyone injured patient as no attendant was with them because they had to be quickly airlifted,” Vyas said.

“I have also given on spot directions to the hospital authorities that free treatment be given to every injured and support to all the family members who will come. And I personally inspected each and every patient to see the proper medical care,” Vyas added.

Jammu-based Army spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said the Indian Air Force had pressed a MI-V5 chopper into service and airlifted eight critically injured victims from Kishtwar to Jammu.

Three other injured were evacuated by a Pawan Hans chopper, Rana said.

This is the third major accident in Kishtwar district in the last one month.

While 13 Machail Yatra devotees were killed when their cab plunged into a gorge on August 21, seven persons were killed and 12 others injured when two vehicles were hit by boulders a day earlier.

Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana said the district administration was making efforts to airlift eight critically-injured passengers to Jammu.

“The next of the kin of the deceased will be given an ex gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh each, while Rs 50,000 will be given to each of the injured persons,” Rana said.

This is the third major accident in Kishtwar district in the last one month.

While 13 Machail Yatra devotees were killed when their cab plunged into a gorge on August 21, seven persons were killed and 12 others injured when two vehicles were hit by boulders a day earlier.